Thursday, June 7, 2012

How the Wrestling Industry can Rise Again!: Characters, Characters, Characters!

Note:This is a change from my usual articles and is geared towards the world of professional wrestling. I am a big wrestling fan and have loved it since the Hogan days (which sadly are still happening in TNA). I have been through the ups and the downs.I loved Wrestling before it was considered cool in the late 90s. I resented the bandwagoners who hopped onto Wrestling with the "Austin 3:16", "DX", "NWO" shirts.and became a total insider when I grew older. This article is in regards to the decline of wrestling, specifically the WWE into not being compelling television anymore.

It's no secret that the WWE is not "must-see-TV" anymore. And lately WWE isn't really doing much in terms of changing that perception aside from it's "Did you Know?" propaganda. All over blogs, forums and chatrooms fans bemoan the state of the WWE and lament all the things WWE is doing wrong and its falling on deaf ears. When news broke that the teen demo viewership is the lowest it's ever been in a long time for the WWE, that should have triggered an alarm for the WWE to get it together and reel those 12-17 year olds' back in. But apparently, WWE has become complacent, not aware that they've hit a plateau that can't be broken unless they truly shake things up in a major way.

The statistics show that kids are watching, parents are taking their kids to shows, ordering PPVs and buying merchandise but teens are tuning out from a mainstream/casual fan perspective. Apparently WWE has carved a niche for themselves like Barney, Spongebob Squarepants or the Power Rangers where the kids love it, then they get older and realize how lame the product is and either move on away from wrestling altogether or they become insiders/smart and get cynical and yearn for wrestling to be better like when they first loved it. (Hello!)

I love you, you can't see me,
I promote respect, hustle and loyalty!
The WWE Attitude Era worked because WWE reflected society at the time so people of all ages were tuning in. Jerry Springer was on top of the world, MAD TV was red hot. Movies like American Pie were big hits. And WWE took things that route with its edgy, provacative characters. 10 years later, WWE doesn't have those type of characters anymore that mimic our environment. Characters that we as human beings see in our everyday lives but in an amplified way. If WWE just did some research by looking at popular video games/TV Shows, and heck, just looking at High schools and using their findings to come up with compelling characters, it'd do a world of good.

You need arrogant douchebags, you need cheaters, you need wannabe thugs, you need bullies, you need upright guys, cool comical guys that are someone that you could "have a beer with", guys that are all business and about competition/glory/winning, backstabbers, liars/manipulators, careless partyers that just want to have fun. you need the weirdo outcast that people cant quite figure out etc. These are people that society deals with and observes in everyday life. Magnify these traits in a character and put them in a wrestling ring. Dead are the days of cartoony gimmicks where someone is a cop, a Jamaican guy that comes out to reggae or an Indian with a turban on his head. If there are characters like these that people relate to, they will latch onto them, pay to see them and spread the word and create possibly another wrestling boom period because characters are compelling and good stories can be made from them.

Who wouldn't pay to see a tremendously skilled wrestler that is also disgustingly arrogant and brash and can't lose ala Anderson Silva/Floyd Mayweather? Or a guy that came humble beginnings and shocked the world with his skill like Jeremy Lin? A controversial enigma like Metta World Peace/Kanye West? A quick-witted charismatic star like Robert Downey Jr's film characters? A no nonsense tough guy character like Denzel Washington/Mark Wahlberg protray often? The mainstream and teens flock and throw money down to see these characters.

WWE should even go into unchartered territory. Heck, have a character that is gay but not a caricature of what a homosexual is. He's a good athlete, a talented wrestler, he just prefers men and isn't afraid to say it. Other wrestlers could openly complain about not wanting to wrestle him, or tag team with him and he doesn't let it bug him. Opponents underestimate him because he "plays for the other team" and he makes them eat his words by soundly defeating them. No matter your own views, that is a guy worthy of cheering and supporting.

What has been seen by wrestling experts and journalists as the reason for the declining teen viewership is that teens need their own generations character to root for and it's absolutely true. So if they just pay attention to what teens are gravitating towards and take what appeals them and put it in the confines of a wrestling ring, they can win them back. And I'm not saying that WWE should have werewolves, vampires and wizard prodigies dominate their show. That's returning back to shallow caricatures. It's not rocket science, Vince! Create larger-than-life characters that people can relate to and support rather than stacking all your chips on John Cena.

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